Jennifer Potts and Erich Maas have known each other since middle school. They began dating in high school and are going to get married Oct. 17, 2015.
Maas and Potts share a close bond that surpasses traditional couples.
Winnie Volkman, Potts’s maid of honor, was her randomly assigned roommate in Sept. 2011 when they were freshmen entering the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
“What I didn’t know at the time was that Jennifer and Erich came as a packaged deal,” Volkman said. “It may sound cheesy, but they are not just two people in love. They are two best friends in love.”
Potts and Maas both agreed one reason why they have remained together for so long is that they experienced certain mile stones in life in tandem. They went to college together, they experienced dorm life together, and they leaned on each other when they needed help with important life decisions, such as finding a new major.
“I changed majors three times now,” Maas said. “I would be comfortable with the major I had, but then I thought, ‘Oh my God, I want to change’.”
Maas was originally a German major, switched to history and then interior architecture. He ultimately settled on an English major and a creative writing minor.
Potts was by Maas’s side and talked him through what his aspirations were in order to decide which major would be best suited for him. Potts was a German major as well, but decided to become a pre-med major with advice from Maas.
Both said they talked early on about important things that can be hard for couples, like their dream jobs, how they want their lifestyle to be and when they want children.
Potts plans on going to medical school, and Maas wants to become a novelist. With their choices, they have offered each other their honest opinions in order to promote individual growth as well as growth within their relationship.
Alex Ludin is Maas’s best man. Ludin knew the couple since 2009 and can attest to the affection they demonstrate toward one another.
“He’s a prince in shining armor, and she is a princess,” Ludin said. “You can tell they love each other because Erich is the first person Jennifer turns to.”
However, with each relationship comes a set of tribulations the couple must overcome. Ludin has been there for each obstacle Potts and Maas faced.
“After they went through any difficult times in their relationship, they were always willing to come back together, regroup and begin something a lot more mature and stronger,” Ludin said.
Ludin said most couples would split up when they hit a major impediment, but Potts and Maas were able to emerge stronger and more loving.
Potts and Maas are glad that they have found each other, but they acknowledge their situation is unusual since they have known each other from such a young age.
When Potts hears people saying they are going to marry the next person they meet, she disagrees and explains herself.
“I’ve tried telling people this before. Our situation is not normal,” Potts said. “I wouldn’t give it up, but in college, I don’t think it is something you need to find. Take care of yourself, get an education, then get married.”
Emily Noèl Showers